Plans are in place to replace the erosion-prone Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards clubrooms with a public open day next week to reveal the plans for the $3.5 million rebuild.
Born out of a rail worker tragically drowning while fishing in 1913, the surf club was established and the Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards have since been serving the community by providing lifeguarding on the beaches, competitions and training programmes for young athletes and a supportive family club for 107 years.
With the club's first building being destroyed by a storm in 1918, the club has been in their current clubrooms since 1964 with many additions and modifications over the years.
"The Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards need a new facility to operate from – it's not a nice to have," club chairman Matt Warren said.
The clubhouse has been battered by storms for the last 50 years with erosion taking out the boat ramp last year and the earthquake risk growing too strong for the club to continue in the building for much longer.
Starting the process back in 2011 with a seismic assessment completed by Sawrey Consulting Engineers and updated in 2018, the main suggestion was that the club move out of the building within five years.
"Early last year the Greater Wellington Regional Council came out with a proposal to move everything back and there was a retreat process going on," Matt said.
"At exactly the same time we got an independent study having a look at coastal erosion and where we should build and that came back with exactly the same as what theirs did.
"The earthquake risk and everything that's going wrong with it mean we've decided external groups are no longer allowed to hire the building.
"A new building is not just a nice to have for us - this might be the last season we're in the current building."
This means turning down events such as their beach education programme which has been run for the last 25 years.
"It means if we don't get the new building built in the next 12 months or so, we will be living out of containers."
The new 554m² clubrooms will sit behind the dunes about 85 metres back from the beach and will include a multi-purpose venue for the whole community to use alongside the patrol tower and ample space for storing IRBs and equipment.
The design has been developed to add value to the area without being intrusive visually or spatially, with vehicle access via the current caretaker's access road off Wellington Rd.
With the land being owned by the Department of Conservation but managed by the Greater Wellington Regional Council and on the Kāpiti Coast District Council boundary, the club have been working to meet everybody's needs along with those of the community.
"We want it to be used when we're not using it.
"We don't want to build something that everyone hates, so we are looking to show the community what we're doing and get their feedback.
"There are not a lot of corporate facilities available in Kāpiti, and the good thing with this building is that it's designed so we can split up the space, it's very multi-purpose."
The multi-purpose design enables a group to be using the main area and be undisturbed when the surf club need to access their equipment and patrol tower in the event of an emergency.
"One of the challenges is trying to match everybody's needs up, but we're a long way down the path now and have had support from both councils."
However with Covid-19, fundraising the $3.5m needed for the new build and demolition of the old building will be a challenge.
"Covid-19 is taking all the community money away right now.
"The gaming trusts are tight, and people and businesses that used to donate are struggling so it has that bump on effect.
"We have enough money to get through the consent process which we hope will be done by the end of the year and all going well with fundraising, we hope to have it built by the end of next year."
With 250 members and 85 qualified lifeguards Matt said the club is in the best shape it's been in years.
"The time really is now.
"One of the key things through this project is it's the people and the club that are the things that make it work, a building is a building, it's bricks and mortar, it's the people factor that is the most important thing.
"This just enables us to be able to do our stuff really well and provide our service to the community."
A community open day is being held at the current clubrooms on the end of The Parade, Paekakariki on Sunday, September 13 at 3.30pm to share the plans, and gain support from the community.